CHI St. Vincent Infirmary | 100 Great Hospitals in America 2015

CHI St. Vincent Infirmary (Little Rock, Ark.). CHI St. Vincent Infirmary is a byproduct of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic — except that yellow fever never hit Little Rock that year. The wealthy Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Hager vowed to build a hospital in Little Rock if the city was spared, and they kept their word. Ten years later, in 1888, the bishop of Little Rock, five nuns and seven physicians launched the 10-bed Charity Hospital, located near the Hager estate. In 1889, it became St. Vincent Infirmary.

Over the years, the hospital moved and expanded, added a school of nursing and grew its physician network. It is now the flagship location of CHI St. Vincent Health System, which includes three hospitals, more than 50 physician practice locations, 145 physicians and more than 2,000 employees. The 447-bed Catholic hospital is the No. 1 hospital in Arkansas according to U.S. News & World Report's 2014-15 rankings and is ranked as high-performing in geriatrics, nephrology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and urology. CHI St. Vincent Infirmary is also the first and only Arkansas hospital with Magnet designation for nursing excellence.

The hospital has undergone several multimillion-dollar expansions in recent years. In 2012, the hospital's Jack Stephens Heart Institute added a $36 million dollar hybrid surgical suite and a 24,000-square-foot catheterization lab facility with six new cath/electrophysiology labs and 24 prep and recovery rooms. In 2008, a $47 million project added a new emergency department, expanded critical care and an outpatient surgery center for gynecology, orthopedics and urology, increasing outpatient surgery suites from five to 11.

It was also an early adopter of retail health services, and in 2009 became the first hospital in the nation to partner with Wal-Mart to offer consumers walk-in clinics for basic services.

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